Directed by BAFTA-nominee Martyn Friend (New Tricks) and produced by BAFTA-nominee John Harris (The Singing Detective), the series also proved popular in the US, where it was nominated for a CableACE award in 1985 for Best Movie or Mini-series.
Shackleton was shot on location in Greenland and features cinematography from BAFTA-winner David Whitson (The Voyage of Charles Darwin), who is no stranger to creating atmospheric journeys of historical figures. The chilling original music score was composed by Francis Shaw.
Undeterred by the dangers faced by Roald Amundsen (first to reach the South Pole) and Robert Falcon Scott and his team (who perished on their treacherous journey), Shackleton, in 1914, chooses to lead a team on their famous journey aboard the Endurance. However, when disaster strikes and the ship is trapped and crushed by pack-ice, Shackleton and five of his men must embark on a desperate 800-mile journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia with only the James Caird, a 20-foot lifeboat, to protect them against the furious Southern Ocean.
Based on the true stories, recorded in Shackleton's own journals which he kept during his expeditions, this series does not shy away from the harsh realities the men faced in the Antarctic – from dwindling supplies to emergency amputations – and provides a gripping account of the dangers, frustrations and suffering the determined explorers endured.
Unlike recent film and TV adaptations of the story, the BBC’s 1983 drama delivers a widely acknowledged true account of the events as they unfolded. It opens with Shackleton planning the expedition and reveals the challenges he faced in finding sponsors. It presents the perilous journey on the James Caird and the South Georgia mountain crossing in keeping with journal records. And, unlike later versions, the BBC’s Shackleton delves into his complex relationships with those around him as they all battle to succeed and survive.
David Schofield stars as Ernest Shackleton in a remarkable early performance. He would later go on to star in the epic blockbusters: Gladiator, The Walking Dead and Pirates of the Caribbean. David Rodigan (A Woman called Moses) is outstanding as Shackleton's trusted deputy Frank Wild.
This critically acclaimed, fact-based drama will definitely appeal to an audience interested in historical biopics and true-life adventures. Generally, fans of brilliantly cast and well-written drama with high production values will be thrilled to hear of Shackleton’s long-awaited DVD release.
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